Built around your vision.


Zirthian is a shoot-'em-up arcade-style side-scroller for iPhones and iPads with unique game play, weekly missions, beautifully low-bit graphics and lots of customizations that affect the player's combat experience and give their spaceship a unique look.

Zirthian full logo
Zirthian preview
Zirthian preview

The main features of the game include:

  • Intuitive controls: Slide your finger up and down to control the spaceship's altitude. Tilt your device to control the spaceship's speed.
  • A procedurally generated world, including multiple layers of terrain, power-ups and enemies that spawn in relation to the player's skill level.
  • In-game currency (Z's) that is earned for shooting down enemies.
  • Four types of weapon with ten skins each: laser, neutron gun, gamma ray and seeker missiles. These are purchasable in the "Workshop" for the in-game currency.
  • Six types of enemy with different behaviours and weapons, including lasers, missiles and stuns. The enemies shoot, try to overwhelm by numbers or ram into the player's ship.
  • Five types of power-up: Double missiles, Double Z's, Invulnerability, Instant special weapon recharge, Instant shield recharge.

Creating the world of Zirthian

Zirthian builds

All images and animations that you can see in the game were digitally hand-drawn in-house. I am creating a game that looks low-bit and retro but also cool and unique at the same time. While the artistic vision was clear from the start of the project, I have gradually increased the quality of the entire game world based on early player feedback.

The next release of version 0.7, dubbed "A Brave New World" will include the most significant asset quality increase so far - inspired by the beautiful nature of British Columbia, Canada, I have applied best practices in color theory and environment design to give the game a balanced and polished look. Using a parallax effect with five different environment layers, I have achieved a great illusion of a fast flight in a rich, deep world.

Zirthian workshop items

I have taken similar care when creating the soundtrack for the game. After purchasing royalty-free sounds on various websites, I have used Garage Band to make all sounds fit together and feel like they are part of the same, low-bit whole, complementing the rest of the game world.


The game is built in Objective-C using the latest Apple SpriteKit library for physics, making all interactions between the player's spaceship and the rest of the world feel natural. You can read more about the physics system in my development blog.

Development process and early player engagement

Zirthian full logo At the beginning of the project, I created a Game Design Document that helps me stay on track when it comes to the features and the general feel of the game.

Apple TestFlight My development as well a marketing processes are highly agile and I continuously evaluate my approach using invaluable community feedback. I continue to release updates of the game via Test Flight, through which I allow beta testers to engage with the game and provide their opinions. I also monitor all TestFlight statistics that give me insights into bugs and problems that players may encounter.

Zirthian is present on various social media and gaming sites to further promote its brand and gain new players: